CBC: Dog shock collars a good tool, says trainer

Electronic collars aren’t inhumane: Duke Ferguson

CBC News Posted: Dec 12, 2013 10:51 AM AT Last Updated: Dec 12, 2013 10:54 AM AT

A local dog trainer isn’t happy with some of the P.E.I. Humane Society’s views on certain dog collars.

The Humane Society calls some collars — such as electronic or shock collars — inhumane.

Dog trainer Duke Ferguson said these collars have helped him train thousands of dogs.

He said they’re a good tool.

Ferguson isn’t pleased the P.E.I. Humane Society and other groups don’t see the collars the same way he does.

Ferguson said he’s heard from clients throughout Canada and in P.E.I. who have not been allowed to adopt dogs because they use the collars.

P.E.I. dog trainer Duke Ferguson says he has clients who have not been allowed to adopt dogs because they use collars some groups consider inhumane. (CBC)

“Not just one, not just two, but numerous, numerous, numerous. Weekly, monthly, I hear it,” said Ferguson.

Local Humane Society officials told CBC News they did not want to do a taped interview at this time.

However, two staff members said the P.E.I. Humane Society doesn’t support the use of pinch collars, choke chains or electronic collars. And they said it’s their policy if people use these collars, they couldn’t adopt an animal.

They would not say if that’s ever happened.

People are divided on the training.

Other humane societies have similar policies and the Canadian Veterinary Medical association said the collars can cause fear and anxiety in animals.

Ferguson doesn’t like the word shock. He gets people to hold the electronic collar in their hands to feel the stimulus.

“It’s a physical touch communicator so I can get the dogs attention on me, so the dog can feel stimulation and associate paying attention to the owner,” he said.

Veterinarian Dr. Alice Crook of the Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre at the Atlantic Veterinary College said trainers with advanced skills may be able to use these collars, but they can cause aggression in dogs.

The collars might be OK for trainers with advanced skills, says Dr. Alice Crook of the Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre. (CBC)

“The potential for problems with owners who are not so skilled is greater than the potential for a positive impact,” she said.

Crook said the P.E.I. Humane Society is in the right to monitor what training methods people use.

Crook said positive reinforcement like giving a dog food, praise and attention works best.

Ferguson uses those methods too, but said the collars add to that.

He said he’s turned dogs around that were set to be euthanized because of behavioural problems.

Ferguson has an open invitation to the P.E.I. Humane Society to show them his training techniques, he said.


My 2 cents.

As someone who only uses positive reinforcement with my dogs, this makes me physically ill. I don’t think dogs should be knowingly adopted and brought into homes with people who use painful (&outdated)  methods of training.

I don’t want hurt my dog, which is why I’ve chosen positive reinforcement. I’ve also realized (through trial and error of my own) that I get a much better response from the dogs with positive.

Here’s an article where Victoria Stilwell discusses shock collars. Victoria was featured in the Chicago Tribune, where she was interviewed by Pet World’s Steve Dale. In the article, she discusses how to choose a good dog trainer and the details of her new book, but especially delves into the dangers of electronic collars. Although the collars have been popularized recently in Hollywood, Victoria explained the physical and emotional dangers of electronic collar training. Read the article here.

I have seen  over and over, negative results of using tools such as shock collars, prong/pinch collars and other negative training tools. Even when owners don’t see it, there have been times I’ve caught it. …

For a few studies done on the short & long term effect of shock collar training, visit this site. Interesting info, so please share.

Here are a few photos demonstrating  what a shock collar has the ability to do:

The Kingsbrook Animal Hospital posted this on their blog, to inform clients of what shock collar burn looks like. OUCH. (Click photo to read more)
A canine victim of a shock collar with bad burns all over it’s throat, along with the collar itself.
Faulty shock collars, or misuse of shock collars can cause serious and painful burns to dogs’ necks due to continuous repeated shocking.

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